The first world cup that I really followed was back in 1986 when I was in fifth grade. It turns out that the 86 world cup was really the best world cup since 1970. Only 24 teams (instead of the current 32) were in the tournament. So the overall quality was better. Even the final match was very exciting -- with 3 goals in the last 16 minutes. What drama!
1990 and 1994 left me really sad as the Azzurri lost in the semis and then in the finals on penalty kicks. Things were so bad that I couldn't really get into France 98 (where Italy lost again on penalty kicks in the quarter finals!). 2002 was a lot of fun at the start until Italy lost in last minute of the extra time to South Korea (at least no penalty kicks). I wish I was a little older to remember the glorious 1982!
I'm not sure who will win this time. But it will be very exciting. I do wish that Team Melli had not peaked last year with their all-time high FIFA world ranking of 15. And a better draw would have helped them. Joga Bonita!